Do you know if your community’s comprehensive plan says anything about solar energy use? What about its zoning code? Local plans and development regulations are among the most important tools cities and counties can use to create a supportive local policy environment for solar development. If your community hasn’t adopted explicit policies or regulations that enable and encourage solar energy use, you may be curious about how other localities have integrated solar-supportive language into specific documents. And if your community has taken these steps, you may be curious how your policies and regulations stack up against potential peer communities.
When my organization, the American Planning Association (APA), began methodically tracking planning and zoning tools that explicitly address solar energy use in 2011, there was no central repository for this type of information. So, we decided to make one. Now, thanks to APA’s new Solar Planning & Zoning Data Search tool, anyone can view, sort, and search our collective efforts to catalog examples of planning-related documents from communities across the country.
Currently, this search tool contains links to resources from more than 400 different communities. Users can search all records by keyword or use various filters to limit results by geographic region, type of place, population density of place, type of resource, and type of solar-supportive practice these resources address.